Today’s Jakarta, ancient Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies. Founded in 1619 by J. P. Coen. Since its foundation, this city has been one of the most important commercial centers in the Far East. Since its inception Batavia (today Jakarta) was the Asian headquarters of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). This company was the most important commercial company of the seventeenth century. The port of Batavia was at the center of the vast network of maritime traffic that connected Batavia with the main Asian ports. Today the city – which is the capital of the country and the most important city of Indonesia – is a modern metropolis in tumultuous growth. Its urban agglomeration is among the first in the world by population.
Jakarta rises along the northwestern coast of the island of Java at the mouth of the Ciliwung River. The swampy terrain of the city was reclaimed by the Dutch in the 17th century. Much of the city is located at an altitude lower than the average sea level. Old Jakarta still retains the Dutch aspect with canals and bridges and colonial houses. In the ancient part of the city there are the town hall, the home of the Dutch governor and some colonial churches. Next to the colonial part of the city are the Chinese quarter and the fish market. The central area of the city is modern in appearance and its skyline is dominated by modern skyscrapers.
In the ancient part of Jakarta, the old Batavia, there are some museums housed in historic buildings. Among these, it is worth mentioning the Jakarta History Museum which is located inside the old Dutch municipality of Batavia. Which was the ancient seat of the governor of the Dutch East India Company. In the former Court of Justice of Batavia there is instead the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum.
The Puppet Museum (Wayang Museum) is located in the old church of Batavia, and finally the Maritime Museum is housed in some warehouses of the Dutch East India Company. The city also houses one of the most well-stocked Historical and Ethnographic Museums in Asia. The National Museum of Indonesia which is located in the Merdeka Square area in the center of modern Jakarta.
The typical cuisine of the city is called Betawi cuisine, and represents the culinary traditions brought by the populations that have historically dominated and inhabited the city in recent centuries. This cuisine reflects cultural and commercial contacts with other Asian countries and with Europe. In Jakarta’s cuisine, in addition to the typical Javanese cuisine, there are traces of European, Arab, Chinese, Indian and Malaysian cuisines.
HOW TO GET
Jakarta International Airport (Soekarno – Hatta International Airport, CGK) is the main gateway for tourists visiting Indonesia. Jakarta’s Soekarno – Hatta International Airport is connected by direct flights to the main Asian, Australian and European capitals and cities. The airport is located about 20 km west of the city center.